Now Touring: Wanderlust Quilts – Amanda (Mandy) Leins

teri • November 05, 2015 • 27 Comments

Wanderlust front cover

Wanderlust Quilts – 10 Modern Projects Inspired by Classic Art & Architecture

C&T Stash Books $24.95 (book); $16.99 (e-book). Copies can be purchased through C&T or through Mandalei Quilts.

What do you get when you cross archaeology and quilting? Wanderlust Quilts
Wanderlust, as defined by our friends at Merriam-Webster, is a strong longing or impulse for travel. It is also a longing that develops in an archaeologist-turned-quilter who uses buildings, facades, tile floors and other moments captured in history to inform her heart and her quilting.

Take it one more step. Wanderlust Quilts is the book where author Amanda Leins (we call her Mandy) shows us that taking a risk and making quilts based on much-beloved things will produce beautiful quilts. And we, too, can tap into the power of wanderlust whether it captures our attention in architecture, nature, furniture, geometry, the flowers outside our front door, the kids in the house or the simple symmetry of “traditional” patchwork blocks.


Layered Conversations, pieced by Amanda Leins and quilted by Susan Bishop. Courtesy of Stash Books.  Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

Mandy clearly loves history, architecture and quilting. She is particularly inspired by those things women of the past would have made, such as clothing and other textiles for the benefit of their family. Most of this practical art has been lost to history due to use and time, but Wanderlust Quilts‘ projects honor these long-ago efforts.

Mandy holding up Egg & Dart and speaking about Wanderlust Quilts during her Schoolhouse seminar at the recent Fall Quilt Market.

For example, the book’s “cover girl,” Flowing Fabric, speaks to the beauty, richness and depth of ancient textiles and the lengths to which textile makers would go to find just the right color (dye) for the fabric at hand.

Flowing Fabric and the book’s other nine projects also take a decidedly fun turn with shapes and textures, and give us a fresh look at the quilting world through the eyes of a lover of history and architecture. Mandy encourages us to look at the world for inspiration, and then translate that inspiration into quilts that communicate what we see and feel. She also urges us to take pride in our work (as mostly women in this industry, we often don’t) and know that, while much of our handiwork will not last because it’s meant to be used, it still has meaning far beyond the moment.

Mandy Leins art quilt

Architectural Sketch, pieced and quilted by Amanda Leins.  Courtesy of Stash Books.  Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

Each quilt in the book teaches different techniques, ranging from strip piecing and sewing mitered corners to improv piecing and reducing bulk in the seams. Each lesson helps improve our quilting style or give us another tool in our quilt kit as we work to become better quilters and better students of our art.


Tesselation, made by Amanda Leins and quilted by Susan Bishop. Courtesy of Stash Books.  Photo by Nissa Brehmer.

And yes, Q-bies, there is an opportunity to win a copy of Mandy’s book (hard copy in the U.S.; e-book outside the U.S.). Just tell us three things that inspire you, and how you would use them in a quilt. We will hit the random number generator on Nov.18th and choose a winner.
Then, check out all of the quilters participating in the blog tour:
November 2: Maddie Kertay – Bad Ass Quilters Society
Sandi – Crafty Planner
November 3: Stephanie Palmer – Late Night Quilter
November 4: Christa Watson – Christa Quilts
November 5: Generation Q Magazine
November 6: Casey York
November 7: Bill Volkening
November 8: Angela Walters – Quilting is my Therapy
November 9: Kitty Wilkins – Night Quilter
November 10: Lynn Harris – The Little Red Hen
November 11: Latifah Saafir
November 12: Rose Hughes
November 13: Rossie Hutchison – Rossie Crafts
November 14: Sam Hunter – Hunter Design Studio
November 15: Mandy Leins  – Mandalei Quilts
Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.


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  • Janice • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Lovely, I like her point of view. I’m often inspired by nature, photography, and architecture as well. I’m currently working on a modern quilt inspired by flying grackles.

  • JillB • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    Just three things? Here goes then: lovely patterns that can be seen in architecture, the patterns on ceramic tile , the colors in nature. Sometimes I can’t quite see how to express what I see in a quilt though, so I’m hoping this book will help!

  • mumbird3 • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    OOOThree things that inspire me…..pretty fabric, fantastic food (don’t know about you but I think and create better on a full tummy!) and space (the final frontier) where I can spread out all my stuff!!

  • Kat Scott • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    Flowers inspire me with color combinations, office buildings inspire me with patterns – the brickwork and windows, overpasses inspire me with their wide sweeping curves and loop-de-loops…hopefully I will have time to start the project in my head soon “under the bridge”! 🙂

  • Becca • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    I’m inspired by the colors of fall (just loving life right now!), Europe, and architecture. Right now, I have a bundle of fabric I just pulled that reminds me of fall, and I’m trying to figure out a pattern. I’ve designed a quilt based on a fresco I saw in Siena, and I’d love to turn some of my favorite photos from my travels into quilts. Just trying to figure out how. 🙂

  • Dierdra L. Stary • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    Three items that inspire me: #1. the Rainbow #2. stainglass windows in a church #3. the use of black and grey. I have used these three items to create my version of a “Stained glass” window for backs of quilts I have made for a friend of mine. They really turned out neat.

  • Deb • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    My family, my garden and flowers, and bright colors.

  • sgrancio • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    I am inspired by the the natural world, especially the sky and trees, the adventures of my grandchildren and the vistas of built environments such as cities. Susan in Dublin

  • CindyS • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    I am inspired by textures and color patterns and found in nature, typesetting and architecture patterns and lines, and the space and needs at hand.

  • Deb Berkebile • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    Love all these quilts that I am seeing! What inspiration just knowing a quilty friend has a new book and is an awesome travel designer! I need to take some of my sketches and turn them into quilts as shown can be wonderful.

  • Marcy Lagardere • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    Three things that inspire me are clouds, nature and color. When I sit down to sew, I bring those up and try to incorporate them in whatever I am doing.

  • duchick • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    I am inspired by so many things! Nature gives us so much beauty, especially in autumn with the changing colors. I would really love to make a quilt using autumn colors and have it glow like trees do in the afternoon sun. 2. Paisley designs are a favorite. Perhaps finding or creating a quilt to mimic the paisley shapes would be wonderful. 3. Flowering vines are another favorite. Someday I plan to use cording and applique to create a beautiful wall hanging to look like my garden vines. Then I could admire them all year long!

  • Sarah J. • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    I am always inspired by the person I’m sewing for, but also nature and natural color schemes, and also by what other people people are creating (or have created- love vintage quilts!). Thanks- this book looks awesome!

  • Rosalind Gutierrez • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    Colorful fabric featuring flowers or butterflies, new patterns ideas in trendy fabrics & ocean colors of aqua & blue are some of the ideas that inspire me.

  • buntyw • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    Great quilts – this looks a fabulous book!
    I’m inspired by colours,nature and people!

  • billielynnserruys • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    The three things that inspire me is Nature in all the seasons, whether from a picture or from looking out the window. The second thing is viewing other artists quilts (or art work of all kinds) to admire the workmanship or color combination and lastly, I am inspired by beautiful music. Thanks for asking.

  • patty • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    Professional bicycling racing, abstract art, and interior design are my muses.

  • Lisa Marie • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    Three things that inspire me: Nature, Architecture, Fabric

  • Nancy E • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    Nature, especially the changing sky, the color and pattern of fabric, and the person who will receive the finished quilt!

  • Linda Smith • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    What inspires me is
    when I know someone who NEEDS a quilty hug
    when I see a new technique or design I want to make my own
    when I want to play with certain colors and patterns of fabric

  • LINDA • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #21


  • Paige • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    I’m inspired by the colors of nature, and lines of trees and tall buildings. I have great table runner in mind.

  • Paige • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    I’m inspired by the colors of nature and the long lines of trees and tall buildings. I have a great table runner in mind.

  • Shannon Elizabeth Boudreau • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    Nature, Love, and creativity all inspire me, I am all for anything new

  • tac • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    3 things that inspire….architecture, landscapes and movement in nature.

  • Ruthann • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    Nature #1, a very close 2nd is color, lastly (and again very close to the other two) is light.

  • Joanne Moore • 6 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    Walking has become my new number one inspiration after a 200 mile walk along the Camino in Spain. it slows you down, clears your head and allows you to really look at everything around you! Once slowed down, number two inspiration is a combo of nature and architecture and number three is the color of everything!

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